BY THE NUMBERS
Sewanee: The University of the South
Enrollment / Total cost*
2006: 1,465 / $36,910
2007: 1,424 / $39,440
2008: 1,436 / $42,120
2009: 1,436 / $43,932
2010: 1,401 / $46,112
2011: 1,478 / $41,518
- Tuition, fees, room and board
Source: The University of the South
CHANGES AROUND THE COUNTRY
* Cabrini College in Pennsylvania announced a tuition cut of 12.5 percent for 2012-13 and a tuition cap through 2014-15.
* The University of Charleston in West Virginia will cut tuition by 22 percent for entering freshmen in 2012-13.
* Alderson Broaddus College in West Virginia froze tuition in 2011-12 and is extending the freeze through the 2012-14 academic years.
* Culver-Stockton College in Missouri is freezing tuition at its current level for 2012-13.
* A plan at Columbia College in Chicago will hold a freshman student's tuition constant for five years; tentatively set to begin fall 2012.
* Beginning in fall 2012, Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio will offer a three-year degree options.
Source: National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Sewanee: The University of the South announced Wednesday it's going to freeze current tuition rates and fees for the upcoming year, nine months after a 10 percent tuition cut.
"After cutting the tuition last year, we enrolled the largest class of freshmen in the school's history -- 433," said Sewanee spokesman Parker Oliver. "While we can't attribute all of that increased enrollment to the tuition cut, we have to think it had something to do with it, and so those families made a commitment to the university and this is part of our commitment back to them."
It's rare to hear of a university cutting tuition in these days of falling revenues and increasing costs. But the economic downturn has led a small but growing number of private colleges to think creatively about how they can make higher education more affordable, said Tony Pals, a spokesman for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
And Sewanee had something to do with it.
"Sewanee was the first private college to cut its tuition in several years and it's not a coincidence we are now, a year later, seeing more private colleges take the same step," he said.
Before Sewanee's cuts, Warner Pacific College in Oregon sliced tuition 23 percent for 2008-09, while Blackburn College in Illinois cut its tuition by 15 percent, also in 2008-09 according to Pals.
He said these measures are primarily seen among private colleges, in part because, unlike public schools subject to state regulations, they have the flexibility to do so.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved tuition hikes of 3 percent to 6 percent next fall for students attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Community College and Cleveland State Community College.
Oliver said the tuition cut and tuition freeze is a strategic decision made by Sewanee.
"We are treating it as an investment in our overall future and as continued commitment to providing some consistency and certainly at least for one more year for the families who are here."
February's decision to cut tuition rates had unintended consequences, with some merit-based scholarship awards reduced. Some letters sent to students, for example, listed $10,000 as the value for President's Award in 2010-11 and only $6,000 for the 2011-12 year.
But Oliver said merit scholarship awards will not be affected by the tuition freeze.
The changes only apply to current students. Tuition rates for incoming students will be announced after the board meets in mid-December, he said.